Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Chocolate Hazelnut Cutout Cookies (Nocciolini)

The holidays were kicked off virtually when I entered The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. Think chain letter, but better! I was sent three matches, and had to send 1 dozen cookies to each. My hard work was returned in the form of 3 dozen cookies sent to me!

I wanted to make something simple, delicious and original. I found this recipe in Sunset Magazine, care of a reader cookie submission contest. These looked delicious and came in second place!

  • YIELD: Makes 54 sandwich cookies
  • TOTAL:2 Hours, 15 Minutes


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 to 1 cup chocolate hazelnut spread such as Nutella


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with a stand mixer until well blended, or whirl in a food processor. Add cornstarch and flour and beat on low speed, or whirl, until dough comes together and is very smooth.
2. Divide dough in half. Roll each portion between sheets of parchment paper into a 1/8-in.-thick round. Stack and freeze rounds on a baking sheet until dough is firm enough to cut, about 20 minutes.
3. Lift off parchment, cut dough with a floured 1 1/2- to 2-in.-wide cutter, and transfer to ungreased baking sheets, spacing slightly apart. Gather scraps, refreeze, and reroll as needed.
4. Bake cookies until light golden, 10 to 14 minutes, switching pan positions halfway through baking. Transfer to racks to cool.
5. Spread half of cookies on flat sides with a generous coat of chocolate hazelnut spread, then top each with a second cookie.
Make ahead: Up to 3 days, stored airtight.
Note: Nutritional analaysis is per 1 1/2-in. sandwich cookie.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 83
  • Calories from fat: 52%
  • Protein: 0.7g
  • Fat: 4.9g
  • Saturated fat: 2.4g
  • Carbohydrate: 9g
  • Fiber: 0.4g
  • Sodium: 26mg
  • Cholesterol: 9.1mg
Sunset DECEMBER 2011

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cookie swap sneak peek

I had so much fun researching recipes for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!! Full entry to come.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Exciting times. My own wedding is in less than two months and another special wedding follows mine. I've been asked to create her cake. The inspiration is this lovely ombre cake in shades of hot pink. Trial run starts just after Thanksgiving. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 15, 2011

ByeBye Portugal

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"Quite shocked my bag made it through all these airports and arrived to me on time and in one piece. "

Monday, April 11, 2011


Farmers Market


This sweet little nugget of a man led us on a day long, whirlwind tour of Obidos, Alcobaca, Nazare, Batalha, and Fatima. These were churches and monasteries rich in history and designated as World Heritage.

Bili, always waving his miniature flag of Portugal, never missed a beat in his cool Euro sneakers. Even despite having to conduct the tour (and deliver the same joke) in 5 languages.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Armani no no

I seriously hope this look does not make its way across the ocean and into the closets of our unknowing men!

Elevador de Santa Justa

Did I mention they only employ dashingly handsome public servants?!

Westside Story

Every building in Lisbon looks like the set of a Broadway show - complete with a grandma shouting from the window. Lisbon is far easier to navigate than Porto. After the earthquake and tsunami of 1755 razed the City, it was rebuilt on a grid just like our fair city by the Bay. I rode the Santa Justa lift today, which connects town centre, Chiado, with the Bairro
Alto (thank you A for clarifying that it's not the BaRRio!). The lift was designed by a student of Eiffel, and its iron magnificance is quite odd amongst the rest of the architecture. Pictures to come.

Sickness strikes

Trying out the Farmacia de Lisboa...

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Porto is a quaint little city carved into a hill above the Douro River. Maybe its the age of the city or just a lack of an engineer, but The streets are a cobbled maze of twists and turns. At times I felt like I was in Groundhog Day and was perpetually lost. Most people spoke enough English to get by, except the cab drivers. While cheap to take, there was a lot of sign language and long routes. 

I spent a lot of time on the message boards of the company owned site, in search of both trendy and traditional restaurants. The 2 nice dinners I treated myself to were truly fabulous. I had tasting menus at both and was blown away by the culinary expertise. Hope I still get into heaven after eating baby goat...

My observations so far:

*There are a lot more old people here. 
*Portuguese STARE at anything and everything. They are curious kindred spirits. 
*Everyone wears pantyhose. Mo matter the outfit. 
*The 80's are in. Neon sneakers, whitewashed denim and fanny packs abound. 
*Everything is smaller. From my hotel room (just a tad larger than my wing span) to beer (a mini bottle? Come again?) No percebo Portuguese. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Bon Voyage!!

April 4-7 ~ Porto, Portgal
April 7-11 ~ Lisbon, Portugal
April 11-14 ~ Algarve, Portugal

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011

On Austin Time

I was lucky enough to spend the weekend in Austin during the kickoff of th Interactive portion of SXSW. I had only heard about Austin through Bay Area folks that had flocked to the up and coming city. Food, tech, and no cowboys - sounds good to me!

Austin was exactly how I pictured it. Dresses and cowboy boots, rusty neon signs, and flat, flat lands. Little did I know, those dilapidated neon signs had some killer foods behind them. After a stroll on South Congress peeking in vintage shops, Allens boots, and a vintage circus themed candy store, we sat down for our first experience with Queso. Somehow, being in Texas made eating warm Velveeta A-OK. Find a homemade recipe at the end of this post.

I thought SF had food trucks nailed, but Austin has officially beat us. Coordinated lots of food trucks were abundant. Each trailer with it's own flair - an Airstream cupcake truck, a fortune teller style booth peddling pies and plenty of RV trailers converted to kitchens. Our desire for BBQ led us to Franklin's BBQ a former trailer dweller, Franklin's had just opened their first brick and mortar establishment the day before we went there. After waiting in a hellishly long line (with the Sold Out signs already posted) we ordered the famous brisket including the crunchy ends - a carnivores popcorn. By the time I got to the register, the husband and wife team had convinced me that in addition to my brisket, beans, cole slaw, potato salad and Root Beer, I just *had* to have the Bourbon Banana Cream Tart with a Vanilla Wafer crust. Glad I listened - on all fronts.

I'm already anticipating my next trip to Austin and starting a jar for my cowboy boots fund. My hit list includes, Gordough's donuts, The Swan Dive and a ride on the Pub Crawler!!

Homemade Queso
Franklin's BBQ